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I’m working in Alpena, Michigan for All Saints Parish on a 10 x 20’ Mural depicting the Crucifixion of Jesus entitled “The Crucifixion”. My design is an altar piece adorning the tabernacle and center of the sanctuary of St. Anne Catholic Church of All Saints Parish. My work “Communion of Saints”, created in 2016, surrounds the altar piece with 62 Saints in Adoration.
“The Crucifixion” is a portrayal of abandonment to the Father’s will, focusing on Jesus’ gaze toward the Father during His passion. The Saints look to Jesus and Jesus looks to the Father. The painting follows Jesus’ words from Luke 23:46: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”. Details in the design relate visually to the tabernacle and point respectfully to the Eucharistic presence. The work is scheduled to be blessed and dedicated by Most Reverend Steven Raica, Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord on June 1st, 2018.
“We must learn to see Him. If we know Him, not only in words, but if we are struck by the arrow of his paradoxical beauty, then we will truly know him, and know him not only because we have heard others speak about him. Then we will have found the beauty of Truth, of the Truth that redeems. Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible."
-Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Stay tuned for painting process videos and project updates on the
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I’ll be working in Grand Rapids, Michigan on a mural for All Saints Academy, a Catholic Middle School. I’m super excited! I will begin work next week. The timing of this job within the season of Lent, I believe, will place me in a position of spiritual observation, where God will work in me in a special way. I feel God constantly swaps my positioning in life so that I remain an observer. A disposition of observation toward what God chooses to place before me will keep me vigilant to the Holy Spirit, keeping things fresh and allowing the Spirit to work. God knows everything about me and my unique set of character qualities; with infinite specificity He knows what I need and when I need it in order for me to be the best version of myself.
I believe God will be both helping me to accomplish good works (a mural painting for one) and preparing me for the plans He has in store for me after Grand Rapids. I estimate the project to take approximately 6 weeks, and I’ll be making a few return trips interspersed within that time frame. The painting will be 4x10’, with incorporation of the namesakes of the four local parishes which founded All Saints Academy: Blessed Sacrament, St. Alphonsus, St. Isidore, and St. Jude. I will of course be documenting the painting process with videos on YouTube and Facebook and will keep everyone posted about the progress.
I always look at big projects like this as a gift from God and as a purposeful part of His plans. I’m grateful to All Saints Academy for giving me the opportunity to create this artwork and to stay within the faith community. As with the “Communion of Saints” commission in Alpena, Michigan, I believe the Holy Spirit works through the fellowship that develops while living and working within a faith community in a new place. I look forward to the good things God has in store in Grand Rapids, even though I will miss friends and family back home for a while.
Stay tuned for more updates on Facebook and YouTube!
A Reflection:
Consider the analogy present within this phrase: Life as God’s work of art
My life is a painting. The same techniques and process of layers of paint and the slow ascent toward completion parallels life’s course, and it is especially apparent to me in most of my conversations with God (prayer). There’s always a phase during each painting process where I’m a little unsure of what the next step is, or how it will all come together. During these times I have faith because of all my past experiences when I recognized God’s hand helping me bring paintings to completion. During these times my faith in painting and my faith in life bleed through to the same page in my soul, and there is beauty in that.
The uncertainty during the mid stage of a painting feels similar to the uncertainty of my 20’s, and the same God works in the microcosm of my creations and the grandeur of His own. My life is a masterpiece He is working on, and though their is suffering in the process, I can rest in gratitude for the gift of sharing in His creativity.
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